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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition, DVD)

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44 Reviews
  • breathtaking scenery
  • scenery is beautiful
  • Galadriel's moment of madness - CGI effects gone crazy!
  • Some extras seem more like sales pitches
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    44 Reviews
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      24.08.2016 18:38
      Very helpful


      • "scenery is beautiful"
      • "actors and characters are superb"


      • "missing book moments that would have 100% improved the film"

      Unique film and great beginning to such an amazing trilogy

      For many, The Lord of the Rings trilogy remains to this day one of the most memorable and magical book series of all time. Then in 2001, Peter Jackson turned these much loved books into a series of movies, which were highly successful.
      The first film in this instalment, The Fellowship of the Ring; was an absolutely superb introduction to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
      The characters are as diverse as they are interesting. They range from hobbits to men, from dwarves to elves, from wizards to orcs and goblins. Each group of creatures have their own unique idiosyncrasies which help the viewer separate them, not to mention their varying appearances. You will find zero difficulty knowing whether a character is an elf, a dwarf, a man, etc. The quantity of characters is almost perfect. With just enough characters to make the plot lines and story interesting; yet not so many that you become bogged down in them as individuals. Plus, it’s a lot easier to remember specifics of a few characters and empathise with them; than attempting this with a huge and unnecessary amount of characters, that is often the case with interesting and in-depth series like this.
      The actors themselves are simply amazing. Every one of them is as perfect for their roles as they could possibly be. Their performances make you feel as though you aren’t watching a movie with actors and scripts, but the events taking place have a remarkable level of realism, for a series about magical creatures in a magical land. The cast boasts such fantastic acting talent as: Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), whose singular performance helps guide you through the trials that the one Ring causes for its bearers; Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), who is so unique in that Aragorn is able to go from mysterious, to angry, to kind, in the blink of an eye; the great Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf the Grey), who is one of the greatest actors of the last century; and my personal favourite character, Samwise Gamgee, played by Sean Astin. The character himself, coupled with Sean Astin outstanding delivery, creates a performance that is not only endearing, but carries you through this movie with ease.
      Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings movies remains to this day one of the most cinematically breath taking settings. Every single place in Middle Earth is unique and well crafted, bringing even more realism to these films. One thing I found particularly wonderful is how each locale reflected whoever lives there. The Shire, inhabited by the Hobbits, reflects their personalities in that, “hobbits have a love of all things that grow”; the shire is a green paradise, with fields stretching as far as the eye can see. The elves, who are wise, beautiful and graceful, inhabit places such as, Rivendell and Lothlorien. These places encompass natural beauty and feel very wistful and magical as you watch the characters pass through them.
      The story is rather long (particularly in the extended edition) and if you sadly cannot watch three 3-hour films (Fellowship, 2 towers, and return of the king), then this is unfortunately not the trilogy for you. However, if you don’t mind that, then this plot is gripping and interesting. The Lore of Middle Earth is akin to that of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” (Game of Thrones) universe; with its in-depth information about the various creatures and places in Middle Earth, that are scattered throughout this film. The journey that you watch the characters go in is never dull (how many times in movie history have we been forced to sit through a journey that has some rather dull moments). No, in this film there is always a new place to go, a new character to meet, or a new thing to learn.
      The extended edition is well worth purchasing. I had watched the theatrical version before I purchased the extended edition. To be honest, I wasn’t really bothered about getting an extended edition before I did – what could really be the difference? Well once I had invested in the extended edition, I realised how much better it is. With 30 minutes of extra footage to enjoy. The extended edition brings a whole new layer to the story.
      Unfortunately, I do have one issue with these films. It is a small thing, and unimportant to those who haven’t read the books. I have so I was rather disappointed for the amount of detail and scenes that were skipped over, even in the extended edition. For example, one chapter from the books that I did enjoy was Tom Bombadil, who helped Frodo, Merry, Pippin and Sam through one of the many dark forests in Middle Earth (and trust me, there are many). But to have him not so much as mentioned in the films was a huge disappointment. I know it’s a small nit-pick, but for a 3-hour film, there were many parts of the book left out that could have added more magic to the story.
      Overall the film is one of my favourites and is definitely one to watch. With the perfect mix of magical mystery and very real emotion and characters, this film sets up The Lord of the Rings trilogy spectacularly.


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      27.07.2014 05:38
      Very helpful


      • "breathtaking scenery "


      Fantastic film with great effects

      Films with swords, bows and arrows have always been my favorite. They seem to have a better skill to them than just the standard gun films.

      The Lord of the rings films are, in my opinion, some of the best films ever created. They have been written with great detail and have some of the best views i have ever seen in my life!

      The most part of the film is shot in New Zealand, which is why the scenery in this film is so good. Unlike some films that use back drops and painted scenery, all of the views you see in this film are real. It makes you want to visit these places in person to see them for yourself.

      The film, in short, is about the quest of a Hobbit taking the one ring to be destroyed. The film has many twists and turns and some comical moments. The film is suitable for all ages, but i would suggest parental guidance.

      The only bad point to this film is the fact that there is not more. It leaves some unanswered questions, but to be fair the films are very very long.

      The parts played by all characters in the movie have been played to perfection. My favorite if i had to choose would be Legolas, i love his bow and arrow and i also like Orlando bloom, he is a great actor.

      All in all these films are worth a watch, especially if you like a film full of suspense!


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      09.08.2012 12:25
      Very helpful
      1 Comment




      This is my review of the epic Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring extended edition DVD. I went to see all three Lord of the Rings films in the cinema and bought them on VHS as soon as they were released, but when DVDs became the norm I decided to get the extended editions and I'm so glad I did. I can't imagine watching the shorter editions any more.

      The whole Lord of the Rings franchise is something I have been absolutely obsessed with since I saw the theatrical version of this film in the cinema when I was 12. No film has ever drawn me in so much before or since. I have since read all the books and practically everything J.R.R Tolkien has ever written as well as numerous guides, encyclopaedias and atlases and I've watched countless documentaries and online interviews. Needless to say, I'm a Lord of the Rings geek and I struggle to see how anyone couldn't love it!

      =The Plot=

      In case you don't know, the Lord of the Rings follows Frodo Baggins - a hobbit from the fictional land of Middle Earth - on his journey to destroy the one ring of power which threatens to destroy the lives of the free people of Middle Earth. His Uncle, Bilbo, found the ring previously in 'The Hobbit' and has given it to Frodo to look after without realising its true power.

      Frodo sets out with his Hobbit friends Merry, Pippin and Sam to the elf-town of Rivendell and encounter some problems along the way in the form of Ring-Wraiths (evil horseman searching for the ring). In Rivendell a Fellowship is formed of people from the different races of Middle Earth (Hobbit, Wizard, Elf, Dwarf, Man). The purpose of the fellowship is to destroy the ring and they set out on their dangerous journey together.

      Middle-Earth is a land full of mystical creatures both beautiful and terrifying and the Fellowship meet their fair share of these along their journey.

      The film is full of friendship, emotion and it is a truly uplifting story. I'm not one to cry at films, but every time there are at least three points in the film where I well up.

      This is the first of three films so the story is not completely resolved and is left on a cliff-hanger, but luckily now that all three DVDs are available you won't have to wait too long to continue the story in 'The Two Towers' unlike when I first watched it in the cinema - that year-long wait was unbearable!

      Some things in the film will go over the watcher's head on the first viewing, but with a few more watches (and maybe a bit of googling to answer some unanswered questions that only somebody who has read the books will understand) all will become clear. Even if some of the historical references are not completely understood, the amazing relationships between the characters can be enjoyed by even the most ignorant Lord of the Rings viewer!

      =The Extended Films=

      The run time of the extended films is 208 minutes compared to 178 for the theatrical cut. That's a whopping half hour of extra footage. The film is now so long that it won't fit onto one DVD so part way through a message pops up saying "The story continues on disk two" and you have to change disks. I quite like this because if I don't have enough time to watch the whole film it gives me a convenient place to stop. Let's not forget that Tolkien split his books into two parts so in a way the extended DVDs play homage to the author.

      As I've mentioned before, I can't imagine watching the shorter films now as some of my favourite scenes are in the extended scenes! They also help to explain some parts of the story so if you are a bit confused the extra scenes might clear a few things up.

      There is also a full commentary which I am yet to hear, but I've heard snippets and it's really informative and at times really funny! It's full of little facts that I like to tell people (whether they ask or not!)

      =The Appendices=

      The further two DVDs in the box are Appendices - just like Tolkien included in his books. In the books the Appendices gave a lot of background information on the plot and in the films they serve a very similar purpose. As a huge fan of both the books and the films I was really excited to watch these and I wasn't disappointed.

      The Fellowship of the Ring has one of the best appendices of the trilogy in my opinion because it is the first one and they explain how they got 'from book to vision' which is the title of the first appendices disk. The disk tells the story of J.R.R Tolkien and how he came about writing the book and you get some incredible insights into how the things started with the film. It was a mammoth task to create these films and it's really incredible how Peter Jackson went about it. This DVD also has a lot on design which is just amazing - the detail that went into the film has to be seen to be believed!

      Disk 2 of the appendices is called 'from vision to reality' and focuses on the actual filming of the film. You get to meet the cast and hear what they have to say. I found it a bit weird watching the cast not in character, but I found it really interesting nonetheless. On this disk there are also videos about the camerawork and that epic, instantly recognisable soundtrack!

      Some fans might not enjoy these appendices because you get to see all the tricks and it might ruin the illusion and mystery of the film if you know how it's done. This wasn't the case for me and I still love watching the films knowing how the special effects were created.


      Overall this collection of DVDs for the Fellowship of the ring is a must have in my opinion. I find the Appendices so interesting, but then again I am such a huge Lord of the Rings fan. For somebody who can just give or take Lord of the Rings, maybe this DVD is just a bit too much with the films being too long to hold interest and the Appendices might not be of any interest. On Amazon currently the normal DVD is £4.45 and the extended editions are £8.39 so less than double the price for so much more! The pain of having to change disks part way through may be a turn-off for some people, but I think it's totally worth it!

      As Blu-rays seem to be pushing DVDs out, it might be worth investing in the Blu-ray version. I haven't seen Lord of the Rings on Blu-ray, but I can imagine seeing it in High Definition would be amazing!


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        27.09.2011 11:44
        Very helpful
        1 Comment



        The definitive cut of this film, brilliant insight into its production

        * This is a review of the Extended DVD Edition of "The Fellowship of the Ring", and not strictly a review of the film itself...

        I was a fan of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy of books for a few years before Peter Jackson's film adaptations were announced, and the prospect was an incredibly exciting one. After seeing The Fellowship of the Ring several times at the cinema, I knew I wanted the DVD, but decided to wait for this special 'Extended Edition' to be released.

        One of my favourite things about this film, and the trilogy as a whole, is the exceptional casting. The wide-eyed Elijah Wood is convincing as Frodo, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd are suitable mischievous as Merry and Pippin, Sir Ian McKellen is perfect as the wizard Gandalf, whose unassuming and pleasant demeanour masks incredible power and bravery.

        I could go on, but needless to say, all of the principal cast capture their characters very well indeed. The extended and new scenes in this edition of the film allow a greater understanding of these characters, as well a subtle expansion of key plot lines. All of the added scenes have real value, and I much prefer this cut of the film to the cinematic version.

        The story is brought to life in a rich and entertaining way, with incredible visual effects combining with equally brilliant audio. My particular favourite here is the Balrog encountered in the Mines of Moria, which looks, sounds and feels monstrous and devastatingly powerful.

        The 4 disc Extended Edition is beautifully presented in a folding case which is designed to look like a worn leather-backed book. The first 2 discs comprise the extended cut of the film, and the second 2 discs contain an embarrassment of riches in terms of special features. As a real fan, I found the packaging alone to be fascinating, as it is littered with illustrations from popular Tolkien-inspired artists John Howe and Alan Lee, along with concept art from the film itself. It is a package which is truly worthy of the 'Collectors Edition' tag.

        The special features themselves give a comprehensive and absorbing insight into creating the world of Middle Earth on film. With interviews on location scouting and casting, interactive costume and weapon galleries, and documentaries on the machinations of the WETA workshop, where models and visual effects are put together, there is almost everything a fan or film enthusiast could want to see. It is clear from these features that the film-makers are aware of the grand scale of their achievement, and excited to share the process with their audience.

        Finally, the DVD includes a hidden extra - an extended preview of the Two Towers to whet the appetite...

        Overall, this is a thrilling DVD set, which offers a thoroughly engrossing extended cut of the original film, and an incredible insight into the making of a modern marvel.


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          23.11.2010 17:48
          Very helpful



          A stunning work of imagination made into a stunning reality

          Bringing JRR Tolkien's classic work of fantasy to the big screen was always going to be a massive ask and it was with some trepidation that fans ventured into the cinema in 2003 to see the final results which were nothing less than astounding.

          There can surely be few people who don't know the basic plot outline of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of trilogy which has become the archetype both for traditional tales of good vs. evil and for the fantasy genre more specifically. It follows the quest of four young hobbits that set out on a journey with a great Ring of Power which once belonged to the Dark Lord Sauron. Sauron is once again searching for his Ring and the hobbits must prevent it from falling into his grasp. The Fellowship of the Ring follows the first part of this journey.

          Director Peter Jackson do an excellent job of translating Tolkien's opening tome to the big screen in a way which preserves its spirit, but adds some excellent 21st century special effects. This is a stunningly faithful retelling of the story, capturing the epic scale, diversity and atmosphere of Tolkien's world. If you are a fan of the books, you will instantly feel at home in the Middle Earth Jackson has recreated. If Lord of the Ring is totally new to you, you will have no problem following the storyline and will quickly find yourself immersed in the world of elves, orcs and hobbits.

          This, indeed, is Jackson's crowning achievement. The world he creates is so vivid, so realistic that you will find yourself gripped by the on-screen events. Whether you know the story arc or not, you will be utterly entranced, believing completely in everything you see. Jackson's version of Tolkien's world is superbly realised. From the lush greens and primary colours of Hobbiton, through to the dark greys and miserable dank interiors of the mines of Moria, the look and feel of Jackson's film perfectly matches the detailed descriptions found in the original book. This is more than just a cinematic version of a popular book, it is a labour of love in which the incredible attention to detail can be seen in every frame of the film.

          Inevitably, not all of Tolkien's adventures have made it into the film, which might annoy purists (there is no Tom Bombadil, no misadventures in the Old Forest, only passing references to Farmer Maggott). The integrity of the story, however, remains in tact. Where cuts have been made, they are both sympathetic and understandable. The missing sequences are fun, but not essential to the overall plot and whilst a tiny bit of the richness of Tolkien's world is lost, this is not a catastrophe. Indeed, if you have never read the original books, you will not even notice that anything is missing.

          The special effects in the film were stunning and groundbreaking and still hold up very well today. The whole world looks utterly convincing and realistic and there are some truly stand-out moments that still have the power to make your jaw drop (the balrog, the cave troll). Yet it's not just the effects which are impressive, but the production values and attention to detail. Everything in the film seems like it has been specially created and designed for that character - even for minor players: the intricate carvings on the swords of the various characters, the hideous orc make-up all show how much love and attention has been lavished on this film.

          It seems almost churlish, then, to suggest that ten years after its first release, some of the effects have dated a little, yet incredibly, that is the case. Things which looked stunning on the big screen are more obviously computer generated on the TV and lose some of their power, whilst the increase in the use of CGI over that ten year period means the audience is now more adept at spotting special effects and seeing where they don't quite work. Such is the scale and ambition of the film, though that even the odd little glitch in the effects cannot over-ride the sense of realism.

          Yet pretty looks and impressive effects do not a great film make, so it's a good job that Jackson faithfully reproduces Tolkien's original narrative. It would have been too easy to turn Fellowship into an action film, removing the slower, dialogue intensive scenes. Thankfully, Jackson has retained most of these, so that for every action set piece, there are scenes which develop setting and character. Some people may bemoan the sedate pace of the film, but it helps give it a richness, a sense of depth so often missing in fantasy films.

          Jackson also carefully balances the darker elements of the plot with some lighter moments of banter and real camaraderie. This balancing of light and dark (with tone gradually becoming darker and more sinister as the film progresses) gives you that feeling that you are on a journey with these characters, observing them grow and learn more about the reality of the world around them.

          One of the dangers of bringing well-loved books to the big screen is that fans already have their own personal interpretations of how characters should look and behave. Perhaps my imagination just works in the same way as Peter Jackson's, but his casting instinct is almost perfect. Pick out any of the characters and they are portrayed exactly as I have always seen them in my own mind. Ian McKellan is fantastic as Gandalf, providing exactly the right amount of kindness, gravitas and menace. Viggo Mortensen is well cast as the Ranger Strider; noble, yet weighted down with sadness. In the opening film at least, the comic relief is provided with glee by the trio of Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd and John Rhys Davis (as Merry, Pip and Gimli, respectively) who are suitably immature or (in the case of Gimli) grumpy. Even Orlando Bloom's typically wooden, expressionless performance works well when he is cast as the other-worldly elf, Legolas.

          The central characters of Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee are well cast too. It's true that Elijah Wood (Frodo) appears a little lightweight (relying slightly too much on a confused frown to convey every emotion); yet he also captures the "little boy lost" element, so essential to Frodo in this film. Sean Astin as Sam is probably in his best role since The Goonies and nails the stubborn loyalty of Frodo's companion.

          If you're a fan of the book, there is precious little to gripe about (unless you are a major fan of Tom Bombadil). If you dislike the books due to their prodigious length and obsession with detail, you will find that Peter Jackson's vision gives you an easy way in to Tolkien's complex mythology.

          Critics of the film are few and far between. If you absolutely hate fantasy and the now hackneyed world of elves, dwarves and hobbits, then this granddaddy of them all may still leave you cold. You could also argue that it's a little overlong (particularly if you plump for the special edition), yet it's this slower pace which allows for the development of plot and characters in such detail that the emotional payback is more than worth the time invested. And if your bottom can stand it, the longer special edition is well worth watching as it adds in some cut sequences which help link the film together even more strongly.

          Throw in around 9 hours of extra features, which lovingly chronicle almost every aspect of the film's development and you are getting a heck of a lot of value for your money. One day all DVDs will be like this (well, we can dream!)

          Fellowship was approached with hope and trepidation. Jackson delivered a landmark in cinema history.

          Basic Information
          The Fellowship of the Ring
          Director: Peter Jackson
          Running time: approx. 178 minutes (208 minutes - extended edition)
          Certificate: PG

          © Copyright SWSt 2010


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            27.01.2010 10:07
            Very helpful



            A magical Ring falls into the hands of a very small person who finds himself leading a big quest

            The Fellowship Of The Ring is the first part of Director Peter Jackson's famous trilogy based solely on The Lord Of The Rings novels as written by J.R.R.Tolkien and long thought unfilmable. One attempt was made in the seventies using a unique combination of cell animation and live action but only part of the tale was told before the Producers ran out of budget and it is something that was never repeated until now. Jackson, as the Director previously responsible for the schlock horror B-movies Bad Taste and Braindead might have seemed to some as something of a bizarre choice to film these books but in fact, with this first installment, he has managed to create a very modern masterpiece!

            This is the extended version with scenes that have been expanded and whole new segments exclusive to the DVD and though some might consider this merely a gimmick to boost DVD sales, it does in fact add much more depth to the story and gives you a much wider vision of events in Middle Earth. Shot in New Zealand, the only place Jackson insists the story could have been filmed, the end result is a pure beauty to watch with lots of amazing set pieces and backgrounds that are at all times simply spectacular and breath-taking to view.

            For those who have lived in a cave all their lives and are unaware of the story, the plot centres around The Dark Lord, Sauron, who crafts Rings Of Power for each of the Middle-Earth races but deviously keeps back one final Ring for himself which gives him dominion over all the other peoples. War breaks out, Sauron is defeated and The One Ring To Bind Them All is lost.....centuries later, this Ring falls into the hands of the Halfling Bilbo, as told in The Hobbit which is due to be filmed this year, and then later his nephew, Frodo. Only Gandalf The Grey, one of the last wizards of an ancient order, realises the significance of The Ring and that it could be used to return Sauron and hence evil to the world; The Dark Lord having been reduced to no more than a huge burning eye that holds sway over all the darkest of creatures that lurk in the bad-lands of Mordor. Pursued by a band of Dark Riders, Gandalf encourages Frodo to leave his home in The Shire with intention of taking The Ring first to Rivendell, city of The Elves and then to Mordor and Mount Doom where The Ring was forged and the only place whee it can be destroyed. Along the way, Frodo gathers together several companions, including two Humans, a Dwarf and an Elf who make up The Fellowship Of The Ring. But, as The Ring asserts its influence over the party in an attempt to return to its creator, it soon becomes apparent that the threat is not just from their pursuers but also from those who accompany Frodo on his quest.......

            There are so many awesome moments in this film, too many in fact to be described, but some of my favourites include an early scene where Frodo and his best friend, Sam, are awoken on their journey by the sound of Elves singing in the night as they prepare to leave Middle-Earth for their home-land of Valinor and another in which Gandalf takes on the mighty Balrog deep in the heart of The Mines Of Moria! The film is not perfect and there are a few awkward moments too that include when Glimi states the lines "Nobody tosses a Dwarf" and a piece at the beginning when Frodo first encounters Gandalf but these can easily be excused as it is impossible to see how this trilogy could have been made any better.

            At over three hours long, the film is certainly something of an epic with two equally long chapters to come and there are lots of bonus features on the DVD that include lots of audio commentaries and a look at how the film was brought from page to screen so if you can pick up the extended version, it is more than worth it and far better than the version seen at the vcinema or that is shown on T.V at regular intervals. You don't have to be a big fan of fantasy to be blown away by the sheer ambition of this first of three films and it is very hard not to be impressed! Certainly it is true that there is no other set of films quite like this and not since the original Star Wars movies has any other trilogy had such an effect.

            This is one time when you really SHOULD believe the hype and if you have not ever watched this film before then what have you been waiting for?


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            24.10.2009 16:24
            Very helpful



            Great overall film

            I remember being uncertain about whether or not a Hollywood production could pull this off, having read the books before the films ever came out. It is an epic adventure, detailed, incredibly imaginative, and the director Peter Jackson let himself in for a massive undertaking in making it. I now feel however that this film was almost as good it could possibly have been, and can't imagine it being made any better. There are obvious omissions from this film, and things that differ from the book, this is necessary, this is the case even in this extended version such as the omission of the character Tom Bombadil, but given time constraints in covering such an enormous book this was inevitably necessary.

            For those very few of you that don't know what happens in this first film of the trilogy, it centres around establishing the main characters that will take part in the story and asserting that the ring forged by the dark lord must be destroyed in mount doom in Mordor, if his threat is to be removed forever. Frodo Baggins a hobbit is charged with the quest of destroying it and in this film he departs with eight other travellers on the way to Mordor.

            It is worth discussing what is different in this extended version. There are several additional scenes in this extended version, it runs to 208 minutes as opposed to 178 minutes for the regular edition of the film. Several of the additional scenes revolve around conversations between for example Aragon and Boromir,and some additional fight scenes. One of the main extra scenes that was omitted from the original production is the giving of gifts by Galadriel to each member of the travelling party. I think that this was a significant addition as it explains where Sam gets the rope that comes in great use later on and where Frodo gets the phial of light that is used to help fight the Spider shelob later on in the series.

            Over all this extended version is definitely worth owning, although it lasts for 3 1/2 hours this film is a modern classic and does not feel too long. The cinematography is spectacular, the characters very well cast and the script almost always brilliant and sharp.

            There are an exceptional amount of extra bonus features on this DVD including numerous documentaries, with interviews with cast and crew and feature commentaries.

            If you have by some chance never seen this, it is a must see, a true epic.


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              03.10.2009 22:40
              Very helpful
              1 Comment



              Put some time aside, it's going to be a long one.

              Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the first film in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the series of films based on JRR Tolkein's books of the same name.

              The Fellowhip of the Ring (I'll just call it Fellowship from now on) can take a while to get going once the prologue has finished, but it's worth persevering with. There are several monents in this film that will take your breath away, and the fight scenes are particularily well choreographed. Also, the acting is very good on the whole, and the CGI can't be faulted, especially Gollum, who is motion-acted by Andy Serkis but is a competely computer generated creature on-screen.

              The biggest problem with the extended version of Fellowhip comes exactly half way through it, when you are told "the story continues on disc 2". It's the first time I've seen a message like that since the days of VHS and Metal Gear Solid on the original playstation. Considering the length of the film though (almost an hour's worth of new content compared with the "normal" version of the film), I sometimes wonder if it's there to allow people to get refreshments for the second half, rather than being enforced by disc constraints.

              All-in-all, it's a very good film, with stunning special effects and incredible scenery.


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                26.06.2009 23:54
                Very helpful



                Begin Your Journey Into Middle-Earth

                Before the films came out I had hardly even heard of Tolkien (apologies to any diehard fans now). However, since the work of Peter Jackson I completely fell in love with all his works (or as my family would say, became completely obsessed). So I thought it would be quite fitting to review the film that kicked it all off.

                The Fellowship of the Ring tells the story of a young hobbit, Frodo Baggins, and the beginning of his quest to destroy the One Ring to save the world where he lives (Middle-Earth). This is the same Ring that his uncle, Bilbo Baggins 'found' in The Hobbit - courtesy of the creature Gollum. On his journey we meet many creatures including three other Hobbits (Merry, Pippin & Sam the Gardner), two Men (Aragorn & Boromir), a Wizard (Gandalf the Grey), an Elf (Legolas) and a Dwarf (Gimli) - otherwise known as the Fellowship of the Ring. They have joined together to help Frodo reach the land of Mordor & to ultimately rid their world of the evil of Sauron. There are strong friendships formed, banter between races (Elves & Dwarves), secret inheritances and thrilling battles. The first film mainly focuses on the Elves and Hobbits residing in Middle-Earth; almost the more magical aspect of the story, whilst the world of Men is left alone for the later films.

                There is plenty of adventure, from a terrifying race to loose the Black Riders & save Frodo's life, to Gandalf's fight with an ancient Balrog and a final thrilling battle at the shores of a waterfall; a taste of romance between the mortal Aragorn and the Immortal Elf Arwen; a spark of magic from Gandalf the Grey and certain Elves such as Galadriel; and of course the comic relief, courtesy of Merry & Pippin and Legolas & Gimli - all in all a classic story with something for everyone.

                Peter Jackson's reasoning for an extended edition was to give fans more - including new and extended scenes. The new scenes bring more detail to the film but can cause it to drag a little, hence why they weren't included in the theatrical version. However I do not find this too irritating as I believe it is a perfect addition to the movie. Most scenes are just extra talking or walking but the talking adds extra detail that you would otherwise miss and draws you even closer into Frodo' story.

                Other features of the extended edition are the two bonus discs containing over six hours of features. These include the journey from an idea to script to film; behind the scenes footage; costumes; production photographs; cast interviews and much more. Which means that you, like me, can sit there watching the movie driving the family to distraction by dishing out random facts about the film - down to the tiniest detail. Also included are three commentaries - cast, production & writers. I find the cast commentaries and interviews the best as they are absolutely hilarious and you see the real chemistry that did spark up between the actors.

                The cast themselves are a mixture of known actors & new on the scene, all from the UK, America, Australia and New Zealand itself. Lord of the Rings gave Orlando Bloom his first starring role whilst also using the talents of heavyweight actors such as Sir Christopher Lee (who once met Tolkien himself and is an avid Lord of the Rings fan), Sir Ian McKellen and Sean Bean (who for once wasn't a villain). The chemistry between cast members is such that cannot be faked - for example the friendship between the characters Merry & Pippin is exactly the same as the friendship between their actors Dom Monaghan and Billy Boyd. This isn't surprising as they all spent at least 18 months of their lives living out in New Zealand - not including being called back there for filming of extra footage. I can honestly say that each actor fit their role perfectly - even though at first when you hear a name you may think "ooo maybe not", once you see them on screen you know it was the right choice.

                The location, well, is perfect. Having finally read the books by the release of the Return of the King, I found that all the locations in New Zealand were perfect, exactly how Tolkien had written them. If you visit New Zealand now you may not recognise anywhere as being Hobbiton or Isengard or Rivendell as a lot of time and effort went into building and growing sets (yes, they even grew most of Hobbiton), and also a lot of time went into making sure that once the sets were not needed they were dismantled perfectly so the environment wasn't impacted too much.

                The creation of a new special effects company, Weta, was required to make this movie as believable as it is. The range of effects used is phenomenal - from programming new computer programs for fire effects to simple camera tricks to achieve the height differences between races. Along with the special effects, Weta were also responsible for building the actual sets, miniatures of the sets for fine camera work and explosions, for all the prosthetics such as pointy ears and hairy feet and also all the weaponry. Everything was researched and made in minute detail - even if there was a chance something wouldn't make it to screen it had the same attention as a main character's items. Chainmail & swords were handmade in the same technique as they were in days when they were actually in use.

                All costumes had the same loving work involved - hand embroidery & hours taken on every piece from main cast costumes to stunt & size doubles to extra - no detail was spared on anything, making this film stand up to even the finest scrutiny.

                The music, composed by Howard Shore, completes your journey into Middle-Earth. The mood of the music ties in perfectly with the mood of the scene, and also incorporates the use of Dwarvish in Moria and Elvish in places such as Lothlorien adding yet more depth to each part.

                As with most films from books, Fellowship of the Ring does not stick perfectly to Tolkien's work, even though Peter Jackson tried hard. Fans will notice that some events occur in the film that didn't occur in the book in an attempt to make the film flow better, some minor characters do not appear at all, whilst other roles of characters (such as Haldir in Lothlorien and Arwen) grow across the trilogy. However, these changes do not impact very much. The one change that is saddening is the lack of Tom Bombadil and the hobbit's adventure in the Old Forest. Although this didn't really add much to the tale, Tom Bombadil and Goldberry are quirky and fun and instantly win the hearts of the reader - a sad but necessary cut in the film.

                Even with the slight deviations from the book, the Fellowship of the Ring is a brilliant portrayal of a classic story. It uses all the languages that Tolkien wrote for his world, each realm is created in the style that he had based them upon, each character seemed like they had leapt from the pages of the story itself. In summary, I think the Fellowship of the Ring is one of the best films I have ever seen, and the bonus features on the Extended Edition makes the whole thing even more fantastical and incredible.


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                  12.04.2009 15:05
                  Very helpful
                  1 Comment



                  A brilliant start to the LORD OF THE RINGS!

                  This is the first installment of the Lord of the Rings series, and is a brilliant film to get you involved in the series, even if you have never heard of anything to do with Lord of the Rings.

                  Having only read The Hobbit, i didnt really know what the Lord of the Rings was about, and only went as Dad said i would enjoy it. He was very right! The film starts off in a little village called The Shire, where Hobbits live, and straight away we learn about the power of the ring. The hobbits are all very well cast and so is Gandalf the Grey. Each one being played very well.
                  The story moves on but im not going to spoil i thrilling storyline, however just be prepared for a few surprises on the way, not scary just shocking more than anything. Really well filmed actually.

                  The extended edition comes with four discs, the film split over 2 dvds, and 2 appendices dvds, which take you behind the creation of the lord of the rings, and allow you to watch interviews with some of the cast and creators, a very nice added touch. Comes in a nicely presented box as well.

                  Brilliant for the lord of the rings fan, however expect to maybe pay upto £15 for this extended verion. But worth it, if you like the extras and extended film. Bits cut out are nice and actually make film better in my opinion.


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                    19.09.2008 20:45
                    1 Comment



                    Good deal for all the extras

                    having never read the lord of the rings(Bad i know) I went to the cinema with an open mind.
                    When the dvd was releast i bought a copy of the stanard version, and found i was obsessed with watching it, so when i found out there would be these extended editions i was pretty stoked.
                    The production on this film is insane and i know it's not exact to the book but i think they have done a grand job. There are hours of bonus featutes which our awesome if like myself your into film production and get to have a look the technqies used.
                    The extra footage on the film does seem to make it more epic as more little touches are put in to compliment the book and to pad out the story and im some cases add to character development.
                    I think this is my favourite film from the trilogy and is the one i have watched the most.
                    Great film great extras great collecters piece.


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                      17.07.2008 16:03
                      Very helpful
                      1 Comment



                      sets the scene for the adventure, its brilliant!

                      A stunning masterpiece, having never every shown any interest in wizardry and mystical things, I was pulled along to see this by my husband when it was out at the cinema and I was hooked!

                      This 3 hour film is the first in a trilogy and completely set in a mythical world, it follows the story of Frodo Baggins, a hobbit, along with his friend Samwise Gamgee is given a ring by his uncle Bilbo Baggins to look after for him, this ring is trying to get back to its master who will then destroy the world. A trust old wizard Gandalf who discovers Frodo has the ring when it was long thought it had been destroyed, Gandalf tells Frodo he must get away as far as possible as the dark riders are after him to get the ring. Gandalf needs time to think about what they can do with the ring.

                      Frodo and Sam, along with their two dimwit Hobbit friends set off on their journey, when Gandalf tells them to meet him at the Inn of the prancing pony somehwere which name I can't remember, meantime Gandalf goes to visit his wise old friend, another wizard who's name I can't remember to ask him what to do, this old wizard upon knowing a hobbit has the ring falls foul of Gandalf and being more powerful tries to imprison him so he can't meet the hobbits.

                      At the Inn, Gandalf doesn't turn up but a ranger there, Aragorn gets hold of the hobbits and takes them to meet the elves, where Gandalf turns up eventually and they hold a meeting to decide what to do.

                      At ths meeting is Elrond leader of the elves, a dwarf Gimli, an elf Legolas, the hobbits and Aragorn. They all decide they need to take the ring to Mordor and throw it into the fire at mount doom where it will be destroyed, but who will carry this burden?, why little old frodo of course, and so the adventure begins.....


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                        21.05.2007 22:55
                        Very helpful



                        Amazing film and everyone should watch the whole trilogy, really great!

                        NOTE: This is a review for the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. There was nothing specifying which DVD this was for but this is purely for the Extended Edition, thank you...

                        The Book

                        The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the first in the trilogy of films by director Peter Jackson taken from the 1930-40s novels by J.R.R.Tolkien. The books were published between 1937 and 1949. The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 1937. The story loosely follows on from an earlier work by Tolkien, 'The Hobbit'. This is a tale of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, going on an adventure across Middle Earth and finding out there is a lot more to the world than just the Shire. Well now Bilbo has grown old, gracefully it may be said, and due to his adventure is outcasted a little by his fellow Shire-folk. Well 'The Fellowship of the Ring' is the turn of Frodo Baggins, Bilbo's nephew who lives with him in Bag End.

                        The story of the books is that Bilbo while on his travels around Middle Earth with the wise wizard Gandalf the Grey, he picked up a strange artifact: A ring. A ring he managed to win in a game of riddles with a slimy, sneaky creature named Gollum. This ring has helped bring Bilbo unnatural long life with it's powers and he treasures it beyond anything. Gandalf appears one day at Bag End to give warning to Bilbo. The ring he found is 'The One Ring' which used to be posessed by the Dark Lord Sauron. Sauron has regained some strength and an army and he wants his ring back. Gandalf brings word of this to Bilbo and Frodo and the tale begins.

                        Frodo's mission: to destroy the ring and put an end to the reign of Lord Sauron. Accompanied by his loyal friend Samwise Gamgee and local mischieves Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) and Peregrin Took (Pippin). They set off together on a winding tale that will take them on a much longer journey than expected. 'The Fellowship of the Ring' takes you through only part of the journey with the hobbits. This is the basis for the three books, this sets up friendships and alliances for later in the books.

                        The Movie

                        The mammoth task of making Middle Earth a reality was taken up by director Peter Jackson, normally a director of bloody horrors, this was a little different for him. He was working with his writing team of Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens who had to turn the epic novel into an epic movie. The Lord of the Rings books have had attempts at being turned into movies before. Disney had the rights to make a film for a staggering ten years without managing to make anything of it.

                        Original plans were to make one movie, to show the whole of the Lord of the Rings trilogy into one movie. Peter Jackson and team soon realised that this was impossible and understandably so, but their producers weren't having it. Luckily for them and the viewing public, New Line Cinema were willing to let them have three films to fill it all out into. And so the films began.

                        'The Fellowship of the Ring' as I have said follows Frodo Baggins and his companions through Middle Earth in an attempt to destroy the one ring and by doing so, destroy Sauron and save the free world. Typical underdog hero story... well not quite. Though hobbits seem like pretty normal creatures there are other more peculiar species out there. Later in the story they are joined on their mission by an array of other creatures from Middle Earth.

                        The Fellowship of the Ring is the group selected at the Elven Council to protect the ring until they can destroy the ring. This can only be done by throwing the ring 'into the fire from whence it came' which is the fire of the volcano in Mount Doom in the middle of Mordor, home of Sauron and his army. Not only this but it is also on the other side of Middle Earth. Sam, Merry and Pippin become part of the fellowship through refusing to leave Frodo's side. He is also joined by his friend Gandalf, a very wise wizard who knows his way around Middle Earth. Aragorn, the scruffy ranger with a mysterious background. Son of an elf and a man so he is blessed with long life. Legolas, the elf. Master of bowmanship and extraordinary abilities of sight and sound. Gimli the dwarf, tough and resilient... but still short! Boromir is the son of Denethor, the caretaker for the King of Gondor. Long lost is the line of the Kings so he is in charge of the Gondorians, who were part of the Last alliance and fought against Sauron many ages ago.

                        This film is all about setting up friendships and getting around to trusting everyone. They all need to be in the right frame of mind to carry out their task. The ring has a power of it's own. It wants to get back to it's master as much as Sauron wants it back. It can have extraordinary effects on the people around it. Causing greed and frays between the fellowship, it calls for strong trust. The end of this film is taken from the start of the next book which is probably a good thing. The end scene, which I won't go into too much detail about, works much better as an ending for a film than the book's ending. It is more exciting and end's a storyline started in that film. Credit to the writers for making that decision.

                        The special effects in this film are absolutely outstanding, there are many scenes that need some very well made special effects and they have pulled it off superbly. The timing was absolutely perfect to make this film. They chose not to make it after the technology was available but just as it was about ready to be made and quite often having to create completely new special effects for the purpose of this movie it certainly shows the care and devotion people had for the movie.

                        The Cast

                        Frodo Baggins
                        Frodo was probably about the most main part in this film and it was played by young actor Elijah Wood. The young American actor played the part very well, keeping his English accent at all times he suited the role perfectly. And with his shiny blue eyes and baby face, he got himself a few fans too. The role of Frodo especially throughout the whole trilogy has got a very wide range of emotions attached that needed to be mastered. The young hobbit was very troubled by the end and Elijah played the part brilliantly, he has some critics but I say he was good.

                        Samwise Gamgee
                        Frodo's most loyal friend played by actor Sean Astin. He had to put a little bit of weight on to play this role but he played the part very well. Paying great attention to detail it mentions on the DVD how in parts he made sure he could do things how they were in the book and he made it his responsibility to play the part well.

                        Merry and Pippin
                        These two wildcards were played by a couple of playful guys, Dominic Monaghan (Merry) and Billy Boyd (Pippin). They seem to be just as crazy off screen as they were on screen. The DVD is full of their escapades and funny stories to keep you ammused.

                        Orlando Bloom was new on the scene in this film but was straight out of college and into the role of Legolas, the elf. He played the role very well and it looked like he learned a lot while working with some of the other actors and actresses in this film.

                        John Rhys-Davies played this role absolutely magnificently, the six foot John was playing the four foot dwarf and you could never tell. Fighting against his allergic reaction to make up every day of shooting I have to give all the credit in the world to him. Great acting.

                        He was played by actor Viggo Mortensen who origanally refused the offer when he was asked to play the part but was persuaded to do it by his son who loved the books and would love to see his dad in the film. I don't know what would've happened without him but it wouldn't have been as good that's for sure. Great acting and great swordsmanship.

                        Frodo - Elijah Wood
                        Gandalf - Ian McKellen
                        Arwen - Liv Tyler
                        Aragorn - Viggo Mortensen
                        Sam - Sean Astin
                        Galadriel - Cate Blanchett
                        Gimli - John Rhys-Davies
                        Pippin - Billy Boyd
                        Merry - Dominic Monaghan
                        Legolas - Orlando Bloom
                        Saruman - Christopher Lee
                        Elrond - Hugo Weaving
                        Boromir - Sean Bean
                        Bilbo - Ian Holm

                        As you can see they had an all star cast for everybody in the film, this high calibre of acting talent produced an extremely high quality and enjoyable film for all the family. First in the series is rated at a PG. Both later films are 12a for the violent content in larger battle scenes but the fantasy theme to the films I think softens the blow a bit. Certainly very enjoyable at any age. I thouroughly enjoyed the film and I think that the Lord of the Rings trilogy has to be my favourite set of films ever. This is definitely with some help from the extra DVDs as they let you get some much more involved with actors, writers and the storyline.

                        The DVD
                        These DVDs in any of the Lord of the Rings extended edition films are all sublime, the detail to which they show you everything is amazing. For anyone wishing to get into the film making or model building or special effects industries then you should give this a chance, even if just for the appendices DVDs. It gets you so deep and takes you on an emotional journey with the cast and crew and you learn a lot about where they filmed it, inspirations for the film and music. You also learn a lot about the author, J.R.R. Tolkien. You get to know about his past and his life and how he eventually came to writing the Lord of the Rings books after 'The Hobbit'.

                        Disc One & Two

                        Owing to the film being so long and then extra scenes being added in, the film is spread across two DVDs so leaving you a break in the middle. This is always handy if you need food or just want a break. Also a handy place to stop if you want to start watching again another day.

                        The DVD movie is played in Anamorphic Widescreen which is obviously better on a widescreen television but looks just fine on a normal telly too. It is set up for surround sound (Dolby Digital EX 5.1, DTS ES 6.1 and Stereo Surround Sound) so you can have that cinematic quality in the comfort of your own home, obviously if you can afford the surround sound... It also has the option of English subtitles for the hearing impared. The feature leangth commentaries that are available on the discs are also amazingly enjoyable.

                        Cast Commentary
                        The most entertaining by far is the cast commentary purely due to Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd. Fantastic comedians, they should have got their own commentary but unfortunately it never came. Humourous witty comments from them and informative insight and anecdotes coming from the rest of the cast makes it a great watch.

                        Director & Writers
                        This is the commentary with all the complaining about how hard it was to get everything together and how everything was written and changed last minute and how everything changed. Very informative if not a little dull at sometimes, this is by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens.

                        Production Team
                        Again it is very informative but again a little dull. Good to listen to a first time if you want to learn more about the film but not something you can listen to again and again. If you are interested in production methods for epic films like this then you'll learn a bit from this.

                        Design Team
                        I enjoyed this commentary a lot as I enjoy design so like to hear about how things are made in the film. It is nice to hear which shots are taken from a helicopter flying over New Zealand and which are taken in a small room with a miniature model of the landscape. The design team on this film are outstanding, you learn a lot more about them in the appendices.

                        Disc Three - Appendices Part One - From Book To Vision...

                        This appendices disc contains information about how the writers took their ideas from the books and made it into a vision of how they wanted the books to be. It contains six lengthy documentaries about how the book was transformed into the idea for the movie.

                        J.R.R Tolkien - Creator of Middle Earth
                        This is the tale of J.R.R. Tolkien's life and how he came to write such a magical novel. Learn how his love of languages helped him create all the elven and runic languages mentioned in Lord of the Rings. Learn of his friendships with other great writers like Lewis Carroll and how he fought in the First World War and how this affected him. This is a really interesting documentary that is well worth a watch.

                        From Book to Script
                        This is a documentary with the writing team and telling you how they did everything. They had to cut down the enormous books into one film each and they had to make sure the book's old style of speech was kept in tact while still making it understandable to the younger generation of movie goers. Again very interesting.

                        Visualizing the Story
                        This is one of the larger sections on the appendices with many sub-menus taking you down to specific parts of the film. It shows you early storyboards the writers used to try to visualize Middle Earth before it was created. It follows through different stages of visualisation from storyboards to pre-viz animatics to comparing animatics to filming and then finally a set test on the set for Bag End. Really useful in finding out more about the very early stages of film production.

                        Designing and Building Middle Earth
                        The other very large section on this appendices disc, containing loads of information and galleries which show the early drawings of how sets were going to look and how characters were going to look. This section goes into outstanding detail as to how each character and setting was created. Here you learn about Weta Workshop, the design team behind the costumes, the sets and everything you see on the Lord of the Rings films. Really great insight to the film makers world.

                        Middle Earth Atlas - Tracing the Journey of the Fellowship
                        This is a little interactive map that traces the fellowship's journey across a map of Middle Earth, interesting to know place names if you didn't catch them in the film and puts into perspective how big Middle Earth really is.

                        New Zealand as Middle Earth
                        This is simply about how they managed to turn the New Zealand countryside into the outstanding scenery for Middle Earth. With the great scenery in New Zealand this shouldn't have been a problem but they wanted what they wanted...

                        Disc 4 - Appendices Part Two - From Vision To Reality

                        This disc is more about the filming on set as the films were being made as opposed to the previous disc which was more of the theory behind making the film and planning it. This is showing how the plan turned into action with the first film in the trilogy. This gets you more involved with the cast of the film and you keep learning more and more about Lord of the Rings...

                        The documentary shows you around what happens on set with all the characters and how things are done. They had to work with a lot of perspective issues with the hobbits and Gimli needing to be much shorter than they actually were. They all had stunt doubles who were the right size for the job who were needed in long shots. Also there is a 'Day in the Life of a Hobbit' which shows you how the hobbits handle having all the make up and having to be small. There are also photos available from the menu.

                        Visual Effects
                        This deals more with the effects you see on screen such as scale issues with the hobbits. Also how they made 'big-atures' minitaure models of sets and creatures that turned out to be gigantic. Also a further insight into the work of Weta, this is now showing about Weta Digital who were responsible for all fancy visual effects on screen. Very interesting showing their development of technology and showing you how it all works.

                        Post Production
                        This is a shorter section about how the writers and director had to edit the lengthy pieces of film into a movie that kept the audience awake through four hours of the film. There is an in depth look at how they created the Elven Council scene which is only available from the menu.

                        Digital Grading
                        This again takes you into the more technical side of the production process. A useful and interesting documentary which will help you learn a lot if you want to learn about the digital side to film making.

                        Sound and Music
                        A few minutes of documentary showing first the musical genius behind the Lord of the Rings and how each piece had to be written specifically for each scene until the writers were happy. After that a nice section with the sound effects team who had to make the sound effects for the scenes which had to be dubbed over. I like this bit because the SFX crew were secluded from everyone else out in the countryside and it was different to the hustle and bustle of the rest of the DVD.

                        The Road Goes Ever On...
                        A short ending explaining how they are going to have to work even harder to complete the next two films and it will take them further than anyone has gone before in the epic film making genre.


                        As I am sure you can tell this is very highly thought of by me. I love the film and I love the DVD, that coming from someone who hated the idea of Lord of the Rings and vowed never to watch it. But you know, things change!

                        The film itself is an absolute masterpiece, great beginning to the trilogy and a great film in itself. The effects are great and the acting talent is wonderful, the nest two films carry on this amazing quality to make them some of the best films ever.

                        The DVD is what does it for me though. It makes you appreciate all the hard work put into it all and how attached you can get to making a film. The appendices take you so far in you just don't want to come out. I was left feeling sad when I watched the ending of the final appendices disc for Return of the King and I just wish there could be more. These films definitely deserved al lthe awards they won at the release of the film and will always be remembered by me and I'm sure many others. The DVD is well worth a buy and I highly recommend it to anyone reading.

                        DVD Information

                        Director: Peter Jackson
                        Release: 2001
                        Feature Running Time: 200 minutes approx.
                        Rating: PG
                        Languages: English
                        Subtitles: English


                        I bought this when it was released at a whopping £29.99 but it is now available from Amazon at £6.98.


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                          22.08.2005 13:20
                          Very helpful



                          a fantastic rendition of a classic book

                          Frodo: Go back, Sam. I'm going to Mordor alone.
                          Sam: Of course you are. And I'm coming with you.

                          In this one quote from the Peter Jackson’s, now famous interpretation of Tolkien's fantasy classic you can see a lot of the themes that make the film endearing. As much as the film is about an epic journey ultimately by one person to save the world, over vast distances and immeasurable dangers, it is also about those themes closer to the heart, friendship, love and loyalty in the face of adversity. A film that works on many levels and although set in another world deals with ideas of humanity that parallel our own lives and times. Indeed like any successful fantasy film it must contain ideas that we can relate to and themes that we can connect with, and although the geography and names may seem alien to us, the characters, even the elves, dwarves, hobbits and orcs that populate that land are expressions of human nature in one form or another. Most fantasy is after all, homocentric, how can it be otherwise when it is a human author writing for a human audience.

                          The world, it can be argued, can be split into two camps. There are those who love the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films and there are those yet to see it. An whilst this is obviously not strictly true, the films have made a massive impact on cinema and fantasy fans alike and its probably not overstating the success of the films to say that they have become instant classics. For those two or three of you who are unaware of the story I will give a brief over view of the plot.

                          ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL.

                          Middle Earth is an ancient land; ancient races have controlled its lands, through peace and war for thousands of years. Humans, Elves, Dwarves and the darker races such as Orcs who have fought for power and dominance through out history people it. Our story opens in a forgotten and peaceful part of the land, unknown to most, called The Shire. This is the home of the hobbits, a race of people, humanlike but small in stature living in quiet tranquillity in their rural idyll. Into this scene comes Gandalf, wizard, mentor and friend to Bilbo Baggins and his nephew and heir Frodo. On a previous adventure Bilbo found a magic ring and it has been inherited, thought only to be a trinket, by Frodo. But it is no mere trinket. This ring is none other that the one ring of power that can give an evil demi-god like magician, Sauron, the means to enslave the world. It must be destroyed at all costs and the task falls to Frodo and his group of friends, Sam his loyal friend and gardener and his wayward cousins Merry and Pippin. The catch is that the only place that it can be totally destroyed is in the fires in which it was built, and those volcanic chambers lie in the heart of Mordor, the very realm of the dark lord himself. Under the guidance of Aragorn, a wild ranger from the northern wilderness they hobbits make for the town of Bree where they are to be reunited with Gandalf who must away on other business. When Gandalf fails to make their meeting and with Saurons dark riders on their trail they eventually make for the Elven stronghold of Rivendell. Here their numbers are increased to nine and they continue south through battles and trials until the group are separated. Frodo and Sam continue alone and the story breaks into three separate story lines, which weave in and out of each other. Those stories are the subject of the next two films in the series, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

                          The problem with any film being made of a well-loved book is that it can be very difficult to please the fan. Everyone will have their own ideas of what the characters and locations look like and so can be easily put off by someone else’s version of those representations. After all a film is really only one persons, in this case Peter Jackson’s, interpretation of the book. One trick that Jackson used that work very well for him was to look at all of the art work for calendars, posters, book covers and related products and use those commissioned images to create the look of his film. Over the years these images have been unconsciously soaked up by the fans of Tolkien’s work, so by the time his film came under their critical eye, it already looked familiar to them. One criticism that has been levelled at this film as well as the two that follow it is that the story has been slightly edited. The parts that have been taken out, however, in no way detract from the storyline and with the film running at around three hours already including every piece of the original book would have made for an uncomfortably long production. As a fan of the books from an early age, I approve of the alterations that have been made.

                          In the same way that the book was released in three chunks over a number of years, this is only the first part of a three-film production. There might be tree separate films, but it is all one story add makes little sense unless they are watched in the sequence in which they were intended. With films like the Matrix and its sequels following the same route this has become a common concept. As the three parts were filmed at the same time there is a continuity and look to the films that remains familiar over all three, unlike, for example, Star Wars which has suffered a bit from the original film looking dated compared with the more recent films which are supposed to be chronologically earlier tales.

                          Frodo: Where are you taking us?
                          Aragorn: Into the wild.

                          As I mentioned before there are many human themes running through the films, not all of them apparent at this early stage, but it is these themes that make the world they inhabit seem familiar to us. Firstly the relationship between Frodo and Sam explores the themes of loyalty, which is tested more and more as the films continue and Frodos burden of carrying the ring reaches breaking point. Similar ideas are also characterised by the friendship that grows between Gimli, the Dwarf and Legolas, the Elf. These are two races that have long viewed each other with fear and suspicion and takes on a relevant meaning for today for its themes of friendship overcoming racism. Aragorn is a much more complex character and his story really begins in subsequent films but there is something dark and mysterious about his nature, some big secret waiting to play its hand in the story. A more straightforward conflict is seen in the character of Boromir who is torn between the loyalties to the fellowship, as the group of adventurers is known, and his home city. He believes that he can best serve his own people by not destroying the ring but delivering to his homeland. This is a battle that we all face when presented with choices between our own needs and the needs of others. Even the land itself contains messages, some say that the conflict between good and evil that is the backdrop to the story is based on Tolkien’s own experiences serving in the First World War and living through the Second. Others maintain that it is an analogy for the rise of industrialisation in England with the green and pleasant land of The Shire representing his beloved Oxfordshire.

                          Aragorn: Are you frightened?
                          Frodo: Yes.
                          Aragorn: Not nearly frightened enough. I know what hunts you.

                          Back to the film itself it has a fantastic look to it. Fantasy and Science Fiction films tend to succeed or fail on their believability and that relies on the landscape and settings that the actors are framed by. In this case Jackson pulls off a masterpiece. Filmed on location in New Zealand, but employing a massive amount of post filming computer graphic enhancement the world around the actors seems a world away, such is the power and breath taking beauty of New Zealand and the ability of modern computer skills. Epic battles are believable, sweeping landscapes are awesome and real and the book really springs to life against such a scenic backdrop. The characters too have a realistic feel to them. When we first me Aragorn, for example, a man you lives rough in the wilds of the north, he looks like he lives in a hedge, his hair is greasy and unkempt, his clothes torn and patched and his finger nails dirty and broken. And that goes for all of the characters. In a world bereft of modern cleansing products, no toothpaste, no shampoo, these guys look at home, they are dirt smeared and tatty and you know if you got up close they would smell. Only the Elves who seem to have a sophistication and magical aura look different, angelic, beautiful and otherworldly. In the past in historical and fantasy characters all seemed squeaky clean and at odds with their rough surroundings, thankfully those days have gone. It is also worth mentioning that some of the filming and direction techniques employed are cutting edge stuff. The problems of filming the actors playing hobbits and dwarves and making them seem half the size of the human actors around them must have meant overcoming a lot of technical problems but in this aspect the film remains convincing.

                          Pippin: Anyways, you need people of intelligence on this sort of... mission... quest... thing.
                          Merry: Well, that rules you out, Pip.

                          The cast that populate this production contain more A list names than you would normally find in ten major films. Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf and Christopher Lee as his adversary Saruman add very human qualities to roles, which could easily have become cliché in the hands of lesser actors. Cate Blanchett and Liv Tyler manage to capture the ethereal qualities of the elves, as does Hugo Weaving, who also starred as the chief bad guy in the Matrix Trilogy, it must have been a very busy time for him. The film managed to put a lot of lesser-known actors on the map. The lead hobbits, Elijah Wood and Sean Astin both known from smaller roles and less critical acclaimed films were thrust into the limelight as were fellow Shire folk Billy Boyd and Dominic Monahan, now to be seen in hit series Lost. Orlando Bloom seems to have since gone from strength to strength in the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean and Kingdom of Heaven and Viggo Mortensen the mysterious Aragorn has also gone on to make a name for himself.

                          The soundtrack to the film is a worth while buy and deserves a review in its own right, so I won’t even try to do it justice here, especially after I have waffled on for so long. The DVD of the film can be had on line for around £7.00 but can be bought in many formats now, directors cut, extended version or the whole lot as a boxed set. This version of the film comes with a second disc of behind the scenes footage, interviews and other fan related goodies.

                          I conclusion this film is a fantastic rendition of an equally classic book. Jackson has done a superb job of bringing the book to life and I'm sure this is a film that will be regarded as a high point of cinema history from now on. Lose yourself for a while and let this film take you to another world.


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                          • More +
                            27.03.2005 12:36



                            Imagine it: Peter Jackson's Middle-earth masterpiece released as a director's cut with 30 minutes of additional footage and an expanded musical score. It's enough to make a hobbit choke on his ale.

                            Re-edited by Jackson, who claims the scenes were cut purely for "pace and momentum", this special edition might not offer any story developments, but it does add some wonderful embellishments. Some of the scenes are simply extended versions of those in the original while others, like Aragorn's mournful campfire song, are completely new. My favourite is the moment when Gimli (Jonathan Rhys-Davies) falls in love with Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and asks her for one of her hairs as a keepsake.

                            With six hours of new documentaries and featurettes, multiple commentaries, interactive maps, interviews and on-set footage, this four-disc box-set is the DVD to rule them all. Highlights include Jackson's story of tracking down the Tolkien artists John Howe and Alan Lee, computer storyboards of the Stairs Of Khazad-dum sequence, and interviews with the production designers.

                            Jackson is one of the first filmmakers in the world to fully grasp the potential of the DVD format, saving and documenting everything for this moment. Forget the two-disc set- "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring Collector's Box-Set" is one of the most comprehensive DVDs on the market and a benchmark for all future releases. We'd sell our granny to a Balrog for it.


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                        • Product Details

                          A marvellously sympathetic yet spectacularly cinematic treatment of the first part of Tolkien’s trilogy, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the film that finally showed how extraordinary digital effects could be used to support story and characters, not simply overwhelm them. Both long-time fantasy fans and newcomers alike were simultaneously amazed, astonished and left agog for parts two and three. Jackson’s abiding love for the source material comes across in the wealth of incidental detail (the stone trolls from The Hobbit, Bilbo’s hand-drawn maps); and even when he deviates from the book he does so for sound dramatic reasons (the interminable Tom Bombadil interlude is deleted; Arwen not Glorfindel rescues Frodo at the ford). New Zealand stands in wonderfully for Middle-Earth and his cast are almost ideal, headed by Elijah Wood as a suitably naïve Frodo, though one with plenty of iron resolve, and Ian McKellen as an avuncular-yet-grimly determined Gandalf. The set-piece battle sequences have both an epic grandeur and a visceral, bloody immediacy: the Orcs, and Saruman’s Uruk-Hai in particular, are no mere cannon-fodder, but tough and terrifying adversaries. Tolkien’s legacy could hardly have been better served.

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